Because our branch runs an animal clinic we have an obligation to be contactable in case one of our registered patients needs emergency treatment outside normal working hours. This can be a bit of a curse, witness a few nights ago when a gentleman who I think has some kind of learning difficulties, called me at 2 am to ask how long he should wait between applications of Stronghold (a flea treatment) and again at 3 to ask whether bathing his dog 48 hours after the first lot of Stronghold would have washed it off.
Fortunately most people want to sleep through the night themselves and consequently only phone when something really is urgent.
The reason why we have to take the out of hours calls rather than simply routing the phone to our veterinary provider is the percentage that are really nothing to do with the clinic—not only baby birds, but also people whose dogs have suddenly taken a hatred to one another; ones whose neighbours have barking dogs and so on.
It does give us an insight into what a really horrible job the operators at the RSPCA National Control Centre have. I wouldn't want to sit for eight hours being shouted at by strangers for all the tea in China.
Inevitably, even with the relatively low number of calls we take here, there are people who take offence and people who are furiously dissatisfied that we can't offer more, or different help to solve their problems. When someone does complain it can be remarkably difficult to trace exactly who said what to whom and why, or whether someone completely misunderstood what they were being told.